Mythology Guide – Orion

Mythology Guide – OrionOrion

Orion was the son of Neptune. He was a handsome giant and a

mighty hunter. His father gave him the power of wading through

the depths of the sea, or as others say, of walking on its


Orion loved Merope, the daughter of Oenopion, king of Chios, and

sought her in marriage. He cleared the island of wild beasts,

and brought the spoils of the chase as presents to his beloved;

but as Oenopion constantly deferred his consent, Orion attempted

to gain possession of the maiden by violence. Her father,

incensed at this conduct, having made Orion drunk, deprived him

of his sight, and cast him out on the sea shore. The blinded

hero followed the sound of the Cyclops’ hammer till he reached

Lemnos, and came to the forge of Vulcan, who, taking pity on him,

gave him Kedalion, one of his men, to be his guide to the abode

of the sun. Placing Kedalion on his shoulders, Orion proceeded

to the east, and there meeting the sun-god, was restored to sight

by his beam.

After this he dwelt as a hunter with Diana, with whom he was a

favorite, and it is even said she was about to marry him. Her

brother was highly displeased and often chid her, but to no

purpose. One day, observing Orion wading though the sea with his

head just above the water, Apollo pointed it out to his sister

and maintained that she could not hit that black thing on the

sea. The archer-goddess discharged a shaft with fatal aim. The

waves rolled the dead body of Orion to the land, and bewailing

her fatal error with many tears, Diana placed him among the

stars, where he appears as a giant, with a girdle, sword, lion’s

skin, and club. Sirius, his dog, follows him, and the Pleiads

fly before him.

The Pleiads were daughters of Atlas, and nymphs of Diana’s train.

One day Orion saw them, and became enamored, and pursued them.

In their distress they prayed to the gods to change their form,

and Jupiter in pity turned them into pigeons, and then made them

a constellation in the sky. Though their numbers was seven, only

six stars are visible, for Electra, one of them, it is said, left

her place that she might not behold the ruin of Troy, for that

city was founded by her son Dardanus. The sight had such an

effect on her sisters that they have looked pale ever since.